Sure they could stop buying bud if they didn't like it but they DO like it. I am just questioning WHY they like it. There is always an argument that 'if people didn't like it they wouldn't do it that way' but if I can make a product and convince lots of people they like it then I can keep making that product.
It sounds arrogant and condescending to say "You like what you like because you're brainwashed, while I like what I like because I have good taste."
I'm sure a lot of Bud drinkers think we're all pretentious suckers for paying $20 for one bottle of an infected, sour beer that's sat around in barrels for a year.
I don't think it's crazy to say that part of the popularity of big brands is due to advertising, much of which is completely unrelated to the actual product. "Chew this gum. It will give you a sense of identity and a peer group to belong to that, as a insecure young person, you probably lack".
But, the other part of the equation is that most things which are intended for mass consumption are created through a finely tuned process involving research, focus groups, and making the most middle of the road, formulaic thing possible. Which works great for making a useful widget to sell, but not so great when making art or craft. Really, when in history did the world's best craftsmen ever send out a survey asking how people would like their products made? The thing is, most people don't need craftsmanship for everything. They're satisfied with a product if it isn't one of their main interests.
Now, judging whether a brewery is a "craft brewery" by number of barrels produced seems misguided, but there is a grain of truth here. The more beer you brew, the more you have to appeal to people outside the enthusiast group to people who aren't necessarily interested in craftsmanship. Luckily, the growing interest in beer and education about beer styles and history has increased the base of people looking for interesting and diverse beers, so it's definitely possible for craft breweries to be larger now.